Christmas sparkles in the light of the night. Heaven is so near that we can almost touch the starry heaven and feel its coolness. Christmas makes everyone a child. All are taking a way back to get home, to their childhood. Christmas annuls ages and wrinkles. Christmas illuminates night and now we come to know that nothing is beautiful as an illuminated night. We all carry night in us with fear and suspicion. If we can give can place it at the feet of this child, he will turn it into light. We no more have to fear because beauty has dawned.
On christmas a poor stable is lifted above all houses and mansions. We avert our gaze from superfluous and heartless luxuries to the beauty of bareness and poverty. We try to care what we have never cared because they exist quite unnoticed.
Is This Child Really A God?
It is the anomaly of Christianity that it professes and believes that this child is a God! To many this belief is a scandal. How can a child be God?
It is in this Child that all the contradiction meets. He is just a child but he was there before Abraham ever was, even before the creation. He is truth and fiction, he is God and man, he is gathered and distributed, he is far away like a star but nearest like its rays, he is God and man. G. K. Chesterton throws light upon the inherent paradox of this Child “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.” Chesterton also knows why this Child was born in December, “Any one thinking of the Holy Child as born in December would mean by it exactly what we mean by it; that Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate.”
Jesus was born into a night as a brother of stars is a romanticism of christianity.
Kierkegaard says that in the incarnation God is wooing humanity . The relation between God and man was never smooth. There were moments they really fell apart, accusing each other. Kierkegaard observes that the love affair between God and sinful human being is fraught with difficulty. Man never took responsibility for failing God. Their separation widened day by day. So, “how can this inequality be overcome and the love relation consummated?” Kierkegaard uses his genius of parable maker and tells the story of a powerful king who fell in love with a simple maiden, in order to say the magic of divine love. The king can easily marry the maiden without much trouble. Nonetheless, will it be a true love? The maiden may love his riches not him.
The king solves the problem by donning a disguise and wooing the woman in the guise of a simple peasant. In doing so, he is risking rejection. But it is the only way he can engender a love that is truly love, as long as it is a free response on the part of the woman. In incarnation,, God is becoming a simple man. He knows that it will be easy for man to love an omnipotent God desiring His heaven but will man be able to love him for His own sake, if He is a simple peasant? St. Francis loved this man and said “O God I love you not because I desire heaven and fear hell, I love thee for thine own sake”. In incarnation, God is seeking true love which is also free response. Being omnipotent, God does not merely take on a human disguise but actually becomes fully human. In the incarnation we are meeting the greatest mystery of love, “to love is to give what one doesn’t have, and receive that over which one has no power” says Simon Critchley.
According to Kierkegaard, who believes that faith is the virtue, our salvation depends on this paradox that God has appeared in human history. We can never know God unless he appears as a human teacher. If human being insists on its own autonomy and self-sufficiency and react negatively to this paradox it will end up in offence.
The Virgin Birth
Virgin birth is not so much about virginity but about courage and grace. The New Testament happened when a woman took courage to speak about God and name him. She simply replaces the Old Testament of the man where he had autonomous right over all God talking. In the Old Testament God was a man’s affair. He spoke to God and the God spoke to him. And the name of this God was power. Man placed God in heaven and shrouded him in powerful symbols. In the symbols of fire, lightning, wrath, war, punishment and condemnation.
Woman, woman alone refused to believe in this God. She wanted him to come to her. She offered him the safest place in this universe, her womb. She wanted him to grow feeding her breast, eating her bread, hearing her stories and dancing to her songs. She was eager to teach him her language. She yearned to protect him in her tight embrace.
The salvation history is this: the all-powerful God of the Old Testament became a poor, small and weak child and fell asleep at the breast of a woman, milk oozing from his lips.
For all this, Mary had to have a face. To speak to God one should have a face. One cannot speak to God unless she has a face: “How can you speak to God until you have a face” asks C.S Lewis. Mary had a face which percolated into heaven and its mysteries. God was compelled to speak to her and give himself to her. Incarnation is a mutual compelling and begging.
God greeted Mary with his eternal salutation “Hail Mary full of grace”. Perhaps this salutation was hanging there from the beginning ready to meet a worthy woman. But nobody heard it, all women were engaged in the affairs of the world. Their eyes were dim and the ears stale. Mary heard and responded because she was tuned to heaven or she was rapt on its high.
This greeting enunciates grace. You have grace when you say ‘yes’ to the will of God. Grace replaces will. God has given us will so that we can give it back to him freely in a strange reciprocity. When the will is forgone or given back, there is a vacuum and into this vacuum inflow the grace of God. Mary was full of grace means she was full of God. God has formed in her. In this tidal waves of grace, she became immaculate, like a tide which sweeps through the shore and cleanses it’s of all impurities Mary’s birth was cleansed. God incarnated in the purity of her flesh.
Incarnation is a begging of God. Simon Weil, a French philosopher unravels this secret. She contrasts creation with an act of imposing one’s power. God, after creation abdicated himself and ebbed back off universe. He didn’t want to rule the universe imposing his power rather, he permitted its laws to take over and evolve. According to her “it is an abdication.Through this act a kingdom was established other than the Kingdom of God. The reality of this world is constituted by the mechanism of matter and the autonomy of rational creatures. It is a kingdom from which God has withdrawn. God, having renounced being its king, can enter it only as a beggar. As for the cause of this abdication, Plato expressed it thus: ‘He was good’”.
Incarnation is God’s begging to a woman so that he can enter into this world assuming her flash. God has emptied himself and taken refuge in the womb of a woman. This God is not an omnipotent and omniscient God. He is fragile and vulnerable like all loves. In Christmas, christianity is full of love and life of a child and begins it’s war on death.